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This time of year, most managed service providers (MSPs) are trying to discern what issues are top of mind for their customers as they gear up to head into the New Year.

A recent survey of 500 IT professionals conducted by Internap (INAP), a provider of managed services, suggests that while some priorities will shift in the coming year, most of the issues that are top of mind for IT leaders now will be the same.

Specifically, the survey ranks the top ten priorities for 2020 as compared to 2019 as follows:

2020 2019
Migrating applications to the cloud 37% 34%
Protecting organization from cyberattacks 31% 36%
Scaling infrastructure for business growth 28% 28%
Adopting and/or managing a multi-cloud strategy 28% 28%
Budget or headcount constraints 24% 26%
Skills shortages hindering key initiatives 23% 16%
Automating routine processes to increase efficiency/free up internal resources 22% 24%
Adopting and/or implementing a disaster recovery or business continuity strategy 21% 28%
Developing clear project priorities 20% 16%
Managing outsourcing partners/service providers 17% 17%

While it’s always important to keep an eye on what IT professionals are focusing on, a separate survey also suggest that many of those IT professionals are losing control over how many dollars are being allocated to IT projects. A survey of 450 IT managers conducted by IDG Connect on behalf of Snow Software, a provider of software asset management software and services, finds 67 percent of IT leaders report at least half of their spend is now controlled by individual business units.

In fact, well over half the respondents (59 percent) said that in the next two years they need to gain better visibility into the state of their IT environment. A total of 52 percent said within the same time frame, they will also need to obtain an increased understanding of who is spending IT budget within the larger organization.

IT leaders have less influence over employed technologies

Not only are line of business executives making strategic platform decisions, but developers are also forcing decisions by embracing a broad range of open source technologies. These decisions force internal IT teams to support them whether they like it or not.

As far as MSPs, the two surveys make it clear they will need to expand the number of relationships they have within their customer’s organization. There’s always going to be a concern about potentially stepping on the toes of IT leaders that tend to jealously guard their fiefdoms. However, MSPs are also in the unique position of being able to see everything that transpires across the networks they manage. In many cases, that could allow MSPs to serve as the eyes and ears for IT leaders that often find themselves in the dark about what is occurring within their own IT environment.

On the whole, increased consumption of IT always bodes well for MSPs. The challenge MSPs are facing now is finding a way to make sure they know who is controlling the budget to pay for those services.

Photo: sezer66 / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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